A Boke of Gode Cookery Presents


PERIOD: England, 15th century | SOURCE: Harleian MS. 279 | CLASS: Authentic

DESCRIPTION: A sweet honey confection


.iiij. Gyngerbrede. Take a quart of hony, & sethe it, & skeme it clene; take Safroun, pouder Pepir, & þrow ther-on; take gratyd Brede, & make it so chargeaunt þat it wol be y-leched; þen take pouder Canelle, & straw þer-on y-now; þen make yt square, lyke as þou wolt leche it; take when þou lechyst hyt, an caste Box leaves a-bouyn, y-stkyd þer-on, on clowys. And if þou wolt haue it Red, coloure it with Saunderys y-now.

- Austin, Thomas. Two Fifteenth-Century Cookery-Books. Harleian MS. 279 & Harl. MS. 4016, with extracts from Ashmole MS. 1429, Laud MS. 553, & Douce MS 55. London: for The Early English Text Society by N. Trübner & Co., 1888. 


Gingerbread. Take a quart of honey, & boil it, & skim it clean; take saffron, pepper, & throw on; take grated bread, and make it so thick that it can be sliced; then take cinnamon, & strew on; then make it square, like you would have it sliced; and when you slice it, stick in cloves. And if you'd like it red, color it with sandalwood.


  • 4 cups honey
  • 1 lb. unseasoned bread crumbs
  • 1 tbs. each ginger & cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. ground white pepper
  • pinch saffron
  • whole cloves
Bring the honey to a boil and skim off any scum. Keeping the pan over very low heat, stir in the breadcrumbs and spices. When it is a thick, well-blended mass (add more bread crumbs if necessary), remove from heat & let cool slightly, then lay out on a flat surface & press firmly into an evenly shaped square or rectangle, about 3/4 of an inch thick. Let cool, then cut into small squares to serve. Garnish each square by sticking a whole clove in the top center. OPTION: add a few drops of red food coloring when adding the spices, "if thou wolt haue it Red."

For more information on Medieval gingerbread, visit Period Gingerbread.

Metric, Celsius, & Gas Mark Equivalencies

A Boke of Gode CookeryA Boke of Gode Cookery Recipes

Gyngerbrede © 2000 James L. Matterer

A Boke of Gode Cookery Recipes

Please visit The Gode Cookery Bookshop | This site hosted by Visual Presence